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Tennessee Colleges and Universities Heighten Focus on Combating Sexual Violence

Category: Advocacy

NASHVILLE — Tennessee colleges and universities are working together to address sexual assault and relationship violence through a statewide training event for campus employees Jan. 27-28 in Nashville.

An anticipated 437 staff members who work to prevent and respond to sexual assault and relationship violence at Tennessee’s public and private colleges and universities are expected to gather at Tennessee State University to participate in an intensive training summit led by respected advocates, researchers and practitioners from around the country.

The summit will include three customized tracks for campus police, student support services providers and Title IX investigators and is being hosted by Tennessee’s public and private higher education systems—the University of Tennessee (UT), Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA). Staff are expected from 78 institutions across the state.

The summit also solidifies a partnership between the state’s higher education community and Tennessee’s leading private, non-profit sexual assault coalition. The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence will provide trainers, resources and best practices to assist with combating sexual assault and relationship violence on Tennessee’s campuses.

Through the development and implementation of effective prevention and awareness programs and campaigns, the statewide partnership will enhance the efforts of Tennessee’s higher education institutions to focus on student safety at all levels. It also will address the need for ongoing training to comply with regulations implementing the amendments to the Jeanne Clery Act made by the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which take effect July 1, 2015.

Summit sessions will cover topics ranging from domestic and dating violence 101 to bystander intervention and the psychological and biological effects of sexual assault. Keynote speakers include:

  • Katie Koestner, executive director of the Take Back the Night Foundation and Campus Outreach Services and the first survivor of acquaintance rape to speak out nationally
  • S. Daniel Carter, director of the 32 National Campus Safety Initiative formed by the families of the victims and survivors of the Virginia Tech tragedy
  • Connie Kirkland, director of sexual assault services at Northern Virginia Community College and contributing author of the 2014 NCAA guide “Addressing Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence”
  • Jim Hopper, consultant and instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School specializing in the psychological and biological effects of sexual assault and serving on the congressionally-mandated Peace Corps Sexual Assault Advisory Council
  • Kayce Matthews, program specialist with the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

The complete agenda and speaker biographies are available on the event website at The summit will be held at Tennessee State University’s main campus, located near downtown Nashville.

Media interested in attending are welcome but must make arrangements in advance to receive a parking pass and credential. Some speakers have restrictions on photo and video during presentations.


Gina Stafford
(865) 974-0741

Ellie Amador
(865) 974-1177

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Category: Advocacy